“We are Trying Things Out in Completely New Territory”

How can spontaneous encounters between citizens influence community interest in co-creative place-based change?

At the Collective Community, Anna is in charge of leading engagement sessions. She truly believes in the power of human connections and is passionate about engaging with people, listening and making with them. With her truck, she goes from community to community to offer informal events and connect people together.

Through spontaneous pop-up events, The Engagement Vehicle allows The Collective Community to engage in conversations with communities about their priorities, potential projects, and needs. Considered as one of many informal centres for culture, transient public spaces such as parks and public squares facilitate spontaneous encounters and conversations in a non-intimidating manner for citizens. They are fertile places for connecting people together and enhancing feelings of community collectivity. 

Agility and responsiveness are essential in tailoring public engagements to community needs. With spontaneous encounters, citizens can better access initiatives. The Collective Community can then offer a better feedback loop between local representatives and communities by setting up the van regularly in diverse locations and becoming more and more familiar. Transient public spaces attract diverse communities, so consequently, the diversity of participatory needs and aspirations can gradually be better understood to inform the realisation of future events and projects while also connecting people together.

A nomad van for pop-up community engagement in public spaces. It addresses traditional barriers to accessibility and provides entry points for citizens to engage in community change in a manner that suits them.

Design Opportunities

  • Direct and Indirect Networks
  • Spontaneous Encounters
  • Informal Centres For Culture
  • Trust Through Vunerability

Artefact in Action

Who does this primarily exist to benefit:

Citizens of all participatory needs. Decision-makers and elected representatives.

Aspects to consider and take forward?

Marginalised communities that spontaneous encounters might seek to address may also be unable to access public spaces for various reasons or unable to take part in the conversation even if they wanted to. This means this type of engagements can not be considered as sole means for diversifying participation but rather an opportunity to create connections, be transparent and understand communities and their wants and needs better.

Research Evidence